Posts by Annie Reed (Page 2)

Unreal

Shortly after my husband and I started dating in 2002, I began sensing the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life in ways that I never had before. I felt unusual promptings to speak with specific people about specific, sometimes awkward things; I felt a primal urge to spend time in worship, needing to sing or listen to songs of praise for hours at a time; I had a prophetic dream that was clear and made sense, unlike most of my…

Where Are You From?

My heart raced and my throat tightened, two of my trademark anxiety symptoms. I had no appetite for breakfast, so I downed an instant breakfast protein shake. No, I wasn’t getting ready to go skydiving. I was driving my kids to school, and I was thinking again, “I just don’t like this place.” My discontent festered in my stomach, making me nauseous. My daughter whined from the back seat, “How come the heat’s not on?” I don’t like this place…

Choose Joy

You may have noticed that in many Advent wreaths, the candle marking the third Sunday of Advent is pink (sometimes called “rose-colored”) instead of purple. This is because the third Sunday is called “Gaudete” or “Joy” Sunday, translated from Latin. The change in color represents a lightening of the mood of Advent. While Advent is a time of expectancy and anticipation, it is also a time of waiting. And waiting is hard. Joy Sunday tells us “you’re over halfway there,”…

In Praise of Facebook and Fridge Friends: Where is God when I feel alone?

I have a dear friend who is 91. She raised four children, as I am doing now. A few months ago, eating dinner together, she said to me, “You’re lucky to have Facebook.” I stared at her. Did she just say I was lucky to have that thing I have a love-hate relationship with, that I feel guilty about spending too much time on, that people use to say things they would never say to someone’s face? Furthermore, I’m used…

Beyond the Wilderness: Where is God When Dreams are Broken?

It was a normal early summer evening, cicadas chirping as dusk settled over my neighborhood. I would graduate from high school in one week, and after that I would start packing for college and whatever lay beyond. For the past ten years I had spent every summer in the wilderness of northern Wisconsin, first at a summer camp and then on increasingly rustic expeditions into Michigan, Minnesota, and Canada. Just the previous summer I had canoed and hiked 250 miles…

The Shepherd’s Shepherd

I have always been taken with the phrase “a man’s man.” There’s something about the word repetition that makes it catchy, though its meaning confused me for awhile. “A man’s man” seems to be a man who fulfills some people’s basic stereotypes of masculinity: likes hunting and fast cars, loves deep sea fishing and most nautical endeavors. In short, a man’s man is a strong and preferably bearded type who’s got impressive survival skills. A kind of MacGyver-Robinson Crusoe hybrid.…

Hold On

I have always struggled with Jacob. Here I am, trying to teach my children about the fruits of the Spirit, about the Beatitudes, about the golden rule. And then I read about Jacob. Jacob steals his father Isaac’s blessing from his twin brother Esau by tricking Isaac. Esau, of course, is very angry, and Jacob flees to escape his brother’s wrath. Later in life, Jacob has twelve sons, and it is well-known that Joseph was his favorite. Jacob gave Joseph…

Waiting for Figs

September 20, 2014 was not an easy day for me. I was going on six months since being diagnosed with clinical anxiety, and I’d been struggling especially with social anxiety. Over the summer I had a panic attack at a conference dinner that I attended with my husband and several of his colleagues. I spent most of that evening in the bathroom, breathing deeply and trying to figure out who I could talk to without having to make a sudden…

Elevator Speech

When I was seven years old, I lived in an apartment building with fifteen floors. I used to spend hours on the elevator, talking to whoever came in. I’d greet them and take the few minutes before their stop to learn their name and what they had done that day. Then I’d tell them whatever was on my mind, say goodbye, and see where the elevator summoned me next. Now, let’s just get the elephant out of the room and…

Gerbers, Gushing, and God

We recently had to replace a very old toilet in our home. When the plumber, Trent, reviewed my options for which new models to choose from, he was non-committal. “This one’s okay; this one’s pretty good, except the neck can cause problems; this one has a fancy handle if you like that.” Then he came to a toilet called the Gerber Viper. Trent’s whole countenance shifted, and his face lit up. “This toilet is amazing. The design is as close…